Summer Smackdown at Key West Theater

Get ready to rumble

In the corner, weighing in at a delicate 11 stone plus brain matter, it’s local actor extraordinaire Pony Charvet metamorphosing Aesop Fables. And in the other corner is Lazy Dog High Priestess Kathy Gilmour performing un-purified comedy. Get ready to ruuuuuuuumble. Welcome to the ultimate creative smackdown. Whichever artist can awe and damn right overwhelm the audience with original ingenuity and exuberance will be the winner.

Key West artists are taking their creative productions to the walls and stage, going against one another to take “Best in Show” for four nights at the Key West Theater. The trophy? Bragging rights as the best and brightest in fine arts and performance arts in Key West. More than 30 artists applied, with original artwork inspired by the theme “Island Time” (none was denied) in order to be a part of the first annual, all arts extravaganza competition. Imagine the Theater becoming the ultimate wonder emporium of the arts, and best of all, it’s not just the entertainment value, but the crowd gets to pick the winner.

The Smackdown was the idea of Juliet Gray, artistic & performing arts director with the theater, who wanted to take advantage of Key West artists’ summer downtime. “Artists have a little more free time to participate in something truly for local artists by local artists,” said Gray. “All the fine art will be displayed throughout the theater and each night will be a variety show of performances.” From high-schoolers to the professionals, artists of all ages reacted positively and were game for a little competition.

“To think outside the box, you must live outside the box,” said Charvet, ready to bring it.

“We wanted a theme broad enough to inspire artists to create original work but also relate to Key West in general,” said Gray. During the four days, it will be the audience who determines the winners in two categories – fine arts and performance – every night. There is anything from oil paintings to mosaics to fiber art and a bedlam of performances from bands and comedy routines to short films and plays. Also, all visual art will be for sale with artists keeping 100 percent of profits. Doors open at 7 p.m. and performances will begin at 8 pm, and any material deemed inappropriate for younger ages will be given fair warning and shown at the end of the evening.

In the visual arts, look for paintings by Rhonda Bristol, Fran Decker, Deborah Kik, and Gail Miller; mixed media by Kristen Norman and Christine Stites; sculptures by Tim Curtis and Stuart Damon; mosaics by Kassandra Burnette and Kim Kassner; and fiber art by Margo Ellis, just to name a few. And in the performing arts, there is an adaptation of Aesop’s fables into Key West-centric short plays by Pony Charvet and Juliet Gray with Mathias Maloff and Key West High School student Felicity Delostrinos; short plays by Skip Drezner, Alicia Merel and Mia O’Shay; short films by Aramis Ikatu and Stevenson Greenfield; a song parody by Joanie Sullivan; standup from Gwen Filosa and Kathy Gilmour; and songs performed by Joseph Cyr, Mark Gambuzza and Rich McKay, among others.

Summer Smackdown

Key West Theater

512 Eaton St.

Aug 23-26

Admission: $15


“Each night will be a different beast. You never know what you’re gonna get.” -Juliet Gray

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